I can hear it now – “Whoa! Christian naturism is a non-sexual experience so don’t go there and make it sexual!”
And I agree wholeheartedly with that statement, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But just because it is a non-sexual experience doesn’t mean we are no longer sexual beings. And from a male point of view I’d like to share two advantages I’ve discovered that I never even considered as possible.
There is generally only one area of sexuality that is discussed in Christian naturism and that is deliverance from pornography and lust. While this is a huge step into freedom from a terrible bondage, there is definitely much more to consider. Since there are already many discussions and testimonies of deliverance from pornography and lust I won’t go into that area in this article, but will address two additional sexual advantages of Christian naturism.
First, is the amazing fact and experience of discovering how easy it is to now be able to control sexual desires. Pre-Christian naturism was the usual swirl of being carried along the torrent of passions without any hope of realizing they can be turned off or delayed when necessary. Yes, sexual passion and it’s human fulfillment is also a very good thing created by Father God – and I think He was in a very nifty mood that day! But even as a married Christian I still didn’t understand that my desires could be controlled (turned off – delayed) without frustration.
I remember one time as a new Christian, in my early thirties, when a pastor told me that a husband could lust after his own wife. I was shocked! I just couldn’t believe that to be true, and It was a real puzzle to me for many years. Now I understand that he meant it could easily go beyond desire to a self-gratification that uses his wife as a means to an end. Pope John Paul II addresses this issue in his book Love and Responsibility.
The blessing of Christian naturism and its associated biblical teachings have put this in proper perspective and application. The desired effect of controlling inappropriate sexual desires has become wonderfully simple in application. If any person arouses any type of sexual desire, the TRUTH is what sets me free from that. I can quickly tell myself the truth is that the human being I am looking at is the very Image of God (Genesis 1:27) and NOT for my self-gratification. I quickly elevate the scene from the worldy to the heavenly, and sexual desire is quickly shut down.
The second advantage is tied to the first. Because I can look upon a nude human being as the Image of God, I can then be in a mixed social setting without sexual desire. The experience of social nudity with mixed genders and ages actually becomes very idyllic and Eden-like. This experience has what I call a “holy joy” attached to it, and it is so awe-inspiring and wonderful that we would never want to ruin it by injecting sexual desire into the scene. It would be like throwing a bucket of paint on Michelangelo’s statue of David, or taking a hammer to Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss . It would just horribly ruin something beautiful, just as sexual desire would ruin social Christian naturism. I discovered there is now a built-in aversion to mixing sexual desire with social nudity. What a joy!
The naked human body of all ages and genders is pure, holy, and good. It is a very privileged blessing to be able to enjoy it as God intended without the self-gratification of sexual desire. Therefore in fulfillment of the command to “love one another” we find an additional built-in desire of Christian naturists to preclude using one another to fulfill sexual desires.
It is stated in 1 Corinthians 6:20 – For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. Happily, Christian naturists have learned the value of not only glorifying God in our own bodies, but also the glorifying of God in how we view the bodies of others.
We have this one meme on our memes page, and while we aren’t sure who to credit, some clever individual wrote this though-provoking piece:
Is nudism healthy?
Allow me [to] try to argue the alternative:
Nudism isn’t healthy.
People should be ashamed, embarrassed, and afraid to be and to look as God made them.
God must hate us to have made us this way.
Nor should we tolerate or respect what other people look like.
Especially if they’re overweight, of a different race, too old or too young, or just plain ugly.
People like that should be forced to cover themselves up at all times so we don’t have to look at them.
Young attractive people deserve to be sexually harassed and assaulted if they’re not sufficiently covered up.
Them not covering themselves up enough causes other to be uncontrollably sexually irresponsible. So they have it coming to them.
We should fight our children’s natural instincts to be free of the restrictions of clothing and want to feel the sun, wind, and water unbroken across their bodies.
Sensuality and feeling good about yourself is sexual and we rightfully should be screwed up about how we view our genders and sexuality.
We must condition ourselves to be totally compulsive about being dressed so we stay dressed even when we’re alone in the privacy of our own homes, so we can never be comfortable bathing if others are around
…so we’ll properly fear going to a doctor because we don’t want them to see our bodies
…and so we’ll feel appropriately insecure about ourselves and our bodies around our families, with our friend, and in our intimate relationships.
Yuck! How about instead we just realize that what people call “nudism’ really is just how we’d feel by default if we weren’t so screwed up otherwise.
My reaction to this is that we need to flip the script. There are so many misconceptions about naturism in general, and Christian naturism specifically. Christian naturists are Christians. Christians who aren’t naturists have a lot more in common with Christian naturists than they might believe at first (once they figure out what “naturist” means!). There is more common ground than there are differences. And the differences are not obscene or wrong in any way when you understand the motivation behind it.
In negotiations it’s understood that the goal is to get the other party to a “yes.” However, sometimes the best approach is to first get to “no,” before it’s time for a yes. That’s kind of what I hope to do in this following section. Please help me flesh this idea out in the comments to add to what I have.
For those opposed to the practice of Christian naturists, I would ask:
Do you think lust is a good thing?
Christian naturists do NOT think lust is a good thing. They also do not equate nudity with sex. The normalization of nudity doing non-sexual things like gardening or mowing or painting desexualizes nudity and more importantly desexualizes the mind. We live in a “pornified” culture and the conditioning is strong, but naturists have broken that link between simple nudity and sex. Lustful thinking cannot easily reconcile this separation, it’s hard to fathom unless you’ve broken that connection in the mind (search the blog for renewed mind to see more on this.). Thinking otherwise is a projection of a mind that still agrees with our culture. Hook up culture is an extreme that cheapens the body down to a tool separated from the whole person. Prudishness (and body taboo) is the other extreme that Christians often take on to avoid being “like the world.” Both extremes have a low view and deem the body as hyper-sexual and obscene in many cases. Christian naturists have a high view of bodies as a “very good” creation of God.
Do you think Christians should be sexually immoral?
Christian naturists believe in maintaining sexual integrity at all times. They hate porn or anything that objectifies people and their bodies. They lament that many of the problems that exist today come ultimately from an ungodly view of the body: fornication, adultery, divorce, rape, unwanted pregnancy and abortion, prostitution, human trafficking, pedophilia, gender dysphoria, and everything in between.
Do you think there is any sin that Jesus can’t help you overcome?
Christian naturists believe that God’s power is enough to make both men and women mature in their faith. To many, they cannot fathom the thought that we could be in a large group of naked people without lusting. Many blame their objectifying thoughts on the revealing clothing of others and say it’s their fault that they can’t handle their thoughts. Lust becomes this ever-present, always needing to be avoided issue. We don’t do that with any other sin! We don’t think Jesus can’t help us overcoming a lying problem, but we act as if lust is a whole different thing and pure thinking depends on several other factors out of our control. Christian naturists reject that notion and live differently.
When someone is in bondage to a certain sin, do you think they should remain that way forever?
This is a bit like the last question. For me, I was in bondage for 20 years. The purity culture I grew up with failed me and the tactics to undo lustful thinking were woefully inadequate. Naturism served as a catalyst to get me to see others as God sees them, and by so doing extending them the respect and dignity that comes with being made in God’s image. Humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation, and not to be objectified for selfish gain.
One quick story that encapsulates all I’ve been saying here would be using the movie Titanic. I remember my youth minister asking in a sermon why they had to put those nude scenes in what would otherwise be a good movie. This made me want to see those scenes, actually. And I saw those scenes over and over. We owned the VHS tape and I would fast forward to watch that scene with Kate Winslet. And then feeling guilty and full of shame, I’d rewind it to “get rid of the evidence.” My mind wasn’t redeemed. Once my wife was watching and noticed it wasn’t where she had left it, so she knew what I was up to. Just the other day, my wife and teenage boy were watching this movie as research for a school project (streaming, not VHS!). It came to that scene and my wife, acting on old impulses (before embracing naturism) instinctually thought to fast forward or have him look away. He is now used to seeing us walk around the house nude. He knows what our bodies look like. He told her in that moment sensing her internal struggle, “Mom, they’re just boobs. Not a big deal.” I wish I had the maturity of my 14 year old son when I was an immature 20 year old newlywed husband! See the difference! I was obsessed with watching this scene over and over, and it’s nothing to him, because my wife has been brave enough and confident enough to overcome body shame and prudishness in our home. Normalizing non-sexual nudity is the best way to porn-proof your children.
Do you believe that it’s good to oppress women by making them cover themselves entirely so lustful men won’t be tempted?
Christian naturists are so saddened by this and do not see the logic behind it. If it worked, those who live with the most strict of dress codes would be the purest among us. That is simply not the case! I’ve met several Christian naturists that come from mennonite and even amish backgrounds. They are so much happier and free as naturists, and they attest that in the strict conservative setting lewd behavior is quite prevalent and always in secret.
Do you see the hyper-sexualization of culture getting better with time?
I don’t really. It’s always been bad ever since the beginning. Points 12-17 of our “Personal Manifesto of a Christian Naturist” deals with how Satan has violently attacked humans on this point since the fall in Genesis 3. He is the “who” of “Who said you were naked?” and he hates the image of God. Everything that is not God’s “very good” ideal is a distortion of his will.
Does God usually change his mind completely from one chapter to the next? If God declared all things to be good, very good, when did he change his mind?
Maybe we don’t have to flip the script at all. We have to recover the original script. The script was flipped in Genesis 3, and that’s why we are in so much trouble. We just need to flip it back and recover the innocence of Eden. It really is that simple! And it really is possible (see Revelation 21:5).
Sound off in the comments if you have more to add. I’ll add a few more in the first comment! Thanks for reading.
What a year, right? It has been such a difficult year for so many. That’s why we kind of feel bad that for us this year hasn’t been the typical 2020 experience. In fact, it’s been pretty great. But let’s rewind and go back to 2019 to explain.
Way back in January 2019, Mrs. Phil did something she hadn’t really done before. She picked a word of the year. She prayed and asked the Lord to give her a word that would be a sort of “theme” for the whole year. The word the Lord gave her was “transformation.” She had no idea what that meant, and it really didn’t apply for most of the year. Then in October, one conversation rocked her world completely. (You can read about this day on our “In the Beginning” post.) She learned that I, her husband, was a Christian naturist. Then I suggested it might help her with her own body issues. There is a whole lot more to the story, but she did a 180 and agreed. The Lord knew a huge transformation was going to take place in our lives, and that most definitely came to be!
Right before the calendar switched to 2020, I prayed the same prayer for the Lord to give me a word that would shape our new year. I was led to the word “Joy.” So for 2020, our word was “joy.” This was before Covid, before the heightened racial tensions, before the political frenzy. Again, the Lord proved to know what he was doing. Despite all these things that threatened to steal our joy this year, it has been a year of profound joy for us!
For me personally, there was the joy of being completely free of any draw to pornography, which had plagued me for most of my adult life. For Mrs. Phil, she came out of her bondage of extremely low self-esteem, and finally learned to love herself. Naturism played a huge part in our transformations which resulted in great joy. We celebrated our 20 year anniversary on a nude beach. We became annual members at a naturist park. We’ve enjoyed a deeper and closer relationship with each other and with God. We are teaching our children new and better principles for life, so they will not experience the years of bondage that we lived with for so long.
We started this blog to tell our story and encourage others. We called it “Aching for Eden” because we long to restore the innocence of Adam and Eve in the garden, naked and unashamed, enjoying sweet fellowship with their Creator. The phrase “aching for Eden” comes from a song from singer/songwriter Andrew Osenga. The song is called “The Year of the Locust” and comes from Joel 2:25 where God promises to restore the years the locusts have eaten.
Life is hard, and everyone has struggles and seasons of locusts and times of joy and celebration. The year 2020 will go down as one of the craziest and “worst” years for many people. For us, we had almost two decades where we had a good marriage, ministry, and family, but I was hindered because of my secret sin of pornography. It hurt my wife, and contributed to her own issues with her self concept. These were times where looking back, the “locusts” were eating. After the Lord helped to free us from our bondage and liberated us from guilt and shame, and brought us so close together, it felt as if all those years had been restored. That’s one of the reasons we love Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” As the song says, we can now, “Celebrate and take joy as the dry bones dance.”
When we hear this song, it brings up a lot of emotions. We usually tear up, but they are happy tears. As we hear the guitar instrumentals throughout the song, we remember how God does his work in our lives. We remember where we were and where God has now brought us.
We hope you enjoy the song that means so much to us. We wish you a happy New Year, and pray for you, our friends and readers. May 2021 bring you unexpected blessings as you strive to follow Him wholeheartedly!
Try our hardest not to think about it Who are we fooling? We never stop The longing, the hurting, the doubting Worn out from waiting for a parachute drop
Hey you, in the reflection of the rearview of a hit and run at the drive through Slow down, what you’re chasing isn’t something It’s a screenshot of a rumor in town And the Spirit moves upon the waters
Take comfort and rest In the heart of an uncivil war and you’re taking a beating Blood red on your chest He will restore the years the locusts have eaten The locusts have eaten
Don’t know how to really talk about it We smile over coffee and turn to go Too worn down to reach out to another Too dried up to tend the ground where we need to grow
Our plans are a lost key to a hotel Where we checked out to go find ourselves It’s time, and it always was, And it will again, but we’ll never be who we were back then When the Spirit moved upon the waters
Take comfort and rest When the heart is an uncivil war and you’re taking a beating Blood red on your chest He will restore the years the locusts have eaten The locusts have eaten We’re aching for Eden
Celebrate! Take joy! As the dry bones dance I’m on a rock in the river In this moment, I have a place to stand And the Spirit moves upon the waters
Take comfort and rest When the heart is an uncivil war and you’re taking a beating Blood red on your chest He will restore the years the locusts have eaten The locusts have eaten We’re aching for Eden
Let me use this meme from our ever-growing memes page as a springboard for today’s post.
Have you no shame?
Why would I want any?
I absolutely love that attitude and believe it to be the godly response to an ungodly question. What really is a shame is that we as a society ask such questions and think this way. We’ve equated a portion of the image of God in us (the body) with the feeling caused by our wrongdoing. Allow me to try to explain a bit better…
It sounds a whole lot like the scene way back in Genesis with our first ancestors in Adam and Eve. Shame is not of God. However, it shows up on the scene fairly early in the human narrative. Let’s examine this phenomenon.
God utilized the refrain “it is good” after creating something, but after creating both the male and female form in his image, he says “it is very good” in Genesis 1:31. They are the crowning glory of creation and were so in the unclothed state in which we are born and the same state in which we shall depart this life (see Job 1:21).
Genesis 2:25 states that Adam and Eve were naked and without shame. In fact, shame did not exist at this time, neither did the concept of clothing, or the word “naked” when you think about it.
The crafty serpent convinces both Eve and Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were open to a whole new world.
When a child does something strictly forbidden by their parent, what is the first thing they do? They want to hide the evidence, cover up the infraction, bury their face in their hands. Not much has changed.
Adam and Eve miss their regularly scheduled walk with God, so God calls out to them. They are hiding (Gen. 3:8-10). In my “Personal Manifesto of a Christian Naturist” point #11, I maintain that they covered themselves out of fear, not shame. The editor of fig leaf forum argued this point with a critic:
There we have it—right from the mouth of Adam. It wasn’t shame at all. It was fear. They realized that they were vulnerable, open, unprotected—and guilty—so they ‘covered’ themselves and hid. They were attempting to cover and hide themselves from what and whom they feared (Genesis 2.17; Genesis 3.9-10). I believe Scripture categorically states within these passages that fear is what was motivating Adam and Eve after their fall, not shame.
The text could easily have had Adam saying, “I was ashamed because I was naked, so I hid.” Then my critic would have some ground to stand on. But it doesn’t say that. The Hebrew word that is translated “shame” in Genesis 2.25 occurs 114 times in the Old Testament, yet it’s not used again to indicate shame until Judges 3.25! The text says that Adam was “afraid.” The Hebrew word translated “afraid” in Genesis 3.10 occurs 192 more times in the Old Testament. Not once is it ever translated as any word even remotely close to meaning “shame.”
Genesis 3.21 does indeed tell us that God clothed Adam and Eve with “garments of skin.” Again, my critic seems to insinuate that mankind’s shame was the motivation behind this action. If we are to rely strictly upon what is actually revealed by Scripture in our search for understanding, and not on tradition or presumption or speculation, then I must conclude that there is no evidence that Adam and Eve were ever ashamed of their nakedness. Not before the fall. Not after the fall. Rather, they were fearful because they were naked. Are we then to assume that God covered them because He was ashamed of their nakedness? I don’t see how Scripture would support this possibility either. Only two chapters earlier, in Genesis 1.31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Scripture says “all”—including the naked man and the naked woman.
Humans are the only creatures that cover up. My dog may hide if he understands that I am displeased with him. My kids? Well, as a parent, I am more pleased by the better response of my kids owning up to their mistakes than hiding or trying to cover it up. There is something about being uncovered and laid bare before the one to whom we must give an account (Hebrews 4:13), because after all, nothing is ever hidden from God’s sight. It’s always better to be open and vulnerable, not just in the outer garments, but also in the inner spirit (which is of great worth in God’s sight – 1 Peter 3:4).
An example is from church history of genuine and complete openness devoid of shame would be in regards to baptism. Dr. Michael Wilson writes: In the first four centuries of the Church many of our Christian forbears found no contradiction whatsoever between nakedness at worship, and holiness. Rather, they found deep theological significance in nakedness at baptismal rites. These were not private occasions. Baptismal candidates found themselves ‘naked in the sight of all, and unashamed,’ as Cyril of Alexandria reminds his flock.1
Our experience at naturist parks and nude beaches is that shame is practically absent. What’s often in its place is an innocent joy. In this regard, it’s really quite different than the public pool or a “textile” beach. This is one of the parts of the lifestyle that I love so much! We can be naked and unashamed and full of joy and life. It’s almost as if it’s the way we were created! In a fallen world, can we restore the innocence of Eden? Jesus says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
We hold on to that promise, knowing that we too are being made new. The sins we commit in the body are forgiven and removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Jesus bore our guilt and our shame and nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). We can live free in the knowledge and experience of close relationship with the God of Eden, without the need to hide a thing.
Are there verses that equate nakedness with shame? I would say no, but others who only look on the surface, would say yes. However, upon closer examination, taking the verses in context, you will discover that there is always something else at play that is causing the shame other than the simple state of nakedness. (Read this article from nakedandunashamed.org about each of these verses.)
Much can be said on this subject, and semantics do play a part. However, the subtle distinction between fear and shame, hiding from nakedness or because of wrongdoing is an important one. David L. Hatton puts this whole scene from the fall in such beautiful poetic form:
ORIGIN OF BODY SHAME
Dressed up as a serpent in crafty disguise, A demon attempted, by using his lies, To blot out the beautiful image that God Had made of Himself out of hand-woven sod.
As naked as truth from the day of their birth, And destined by God to be rulers of earth, Both Adam and Eve were alive by God’s breath, But Satan used knowledge to put them to death.
The serpentine liar pretended to heal Their blind faith in God for what’s moral and real. His trick by that Gnostic fruit opened their eyes, Remaking their minds independently wise.
“You see for yourself, God left both of you nude! Your unhidden bodies are shamefully lewd!” Our first parents listened to what Satan said, For now their life-bond to the Maker was dead.
The diet of conscience controls how it guides, Which sins it allows, or what goodness it hides. So, God found and asked them, with leaves round their waist, “Who said you were naked? What fruit did you taste?”
Some call it God’s will to keep chewing that fruit, Embracing its scruples in zealous pursuit, Maligning His gift of our wonderful skin By calling the sight of its nudity sin.
But others discover a godlier view, Rejecting this prudery’s body taboo, Resisting the porn that is wedded to shame Passed on from the devil’s original claim.
These temples are sacred, not sordid, unclean. If you would be holy, don’t call them obscene. Our hearts can be dirty, or lustful and bad, But bodies are closest to truth when unclad.
Continuing our series of interviews, today Bob Horrocks joins us to answer questions pertaining to Christian naturism. Bob is an online friend who lives “across the pond,” so we unfortunately haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person.
Q: Could you briefly tell us your profession, and how you came to be a naturist?
A: My name is Bob Horrocks and I have been an ordained Anglican minister since 1982. I am currently serving as a pioneer, mission-focused Chaplain to the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands off the North-East coast of Africa which although having their own government comes under the jurisdiction of Spain. I’ve been here for nearly four years now. I became a naturist around 2005 after finding myself on a beach on holiday which unknowingly turned out to be a naturist beach. I was lying on the beach with my wife when a man walked past naked. I nudged my wife who was deeply engrossed in a book and seemed disinterested. After looking around I realised everyone else I could see had no clothes on either. Wanting to go for a swim I decided, “when in Rome do as the Romans do” and stripped off my costume. I walked rapidly across the beach and into the sea up to my waist, no matter how cold it was. The experience was fine. I enjoyed swimming around and realised that nobody was watching or bothering and life on the beach was normal except for no clothes. I sauntered back to my towel, dried off “au naturel” in the sunshine, and later went for another more relaxed swim. Later in the holiday I did the same on another beach. It was an amazing relaxed and freeing experience but as a Christian minister should I have been doing this? I went back to studying the Bible afresh with newly opened eyes and quickly discovered that God was fine with us being naked. The issues of shame that had been instilled in me since childhood were simply products of culture and not issues of Christian living according to the Bible.
Q: Why do you think people see Christian AND naturist as an oxymoron?
A: Most Christians in western culture have been brought up in a culture which has historically come to view the body as something to be hidden away under clothes. Nakedness has been equated to sexual expression and a culture of shame has grown up around the naked human body. Christians have been partly responsible for this in their attempts to control people’s sexual expression and thereby actually increasing the sexualisation of the human body. Clothing actually does nothing to supress lust and often accentuates it. Christians have fallen into the trap of equating nakedness with sin alongside a culture which uses intimately revealing clothing and nakedness to entice and seduce. Such a heady combination has created an unhealthy and unbiblical attitude to the human body.
Q: You imply in your book that you are a Christian before you are a naturist. Would you care to elaborate?
A: Whatever labels we or others place upon ourselves the key is what comes first and foremost in our lives. “Who are we?” is the real question here and I can say that first and foremost I am a Christian. My identity is in Christ and with Christ, everything else is secondary. Christian is the noun which describes me and other additions are simply adjectives describing the type of Christian I am. I can therefore say that I am a naturist Christian. That can be elaborated in order of importance in additional ways such that I could say that I am an Anglican, Evangelical, Charismatic, Naturist Christian and so on.
Q: What are some ways you would say naturism has enhanced your faith?
A: Naturism has been a revealing experience in many ways. It has helped me to see further beyond the cultured blinkers of both church and society revealing more of the real focus of our faith in Christ. My studies of the Bible have enabled me to strip away the accumulated layers which have hidden some of the truth and theology of the Scriptures. Being naked in nature has been somewhat of an “Eden” experience walking naked with God in the garden. Spiritually it has awakened my senses to the beauty of God’s creation and His image reflected in our own bodies.
Q: What would you say to someone who is having trouble reconciling naturism with Christianity?
A: Read your Bibles with an openness to God’s Holy Spirit to see what God is actually telling us. God is the one who brought all things into being and created us “naked and unashamed”. God is the one who pointed to the author of sin when he asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” In our bodies we reflect the very image of God. To hide away that image and to equate it as being sinful is a blasphemous action which calls into question any sense of God’s perfection.
For a more detailed analysis read my book “Uncovering the Image” by Bob Horrocks.